Additional testimonies of North Korean refugees

1. Statements regarding reasons for crossing the border Man, 35, from Hoeryong city, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in October 2001: "There are rich people in North Korea too. People who are poor, who just eat corn, come here [to China]. The rich, who have the rice, they don't need to come here. For them, we are bad, traitors." Boy, 18, from Sampong city, Musan county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in July 2001: "I came to China in June 2001 because I had nothing to eat, my mother died and my father is sick." Peasant, 40, from Onsong county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "Me and my wife came to China because we were starving." Women, 43, from Aoji coal mine, Eundok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "We have the choice between dying from starvation or dying in the hands of the police after being arrested. Anyhow we may die so we come to China, at least we can please our stomach there." "If somebody has a high position in North Korea, he does not have any problem. If I was in a high position, I would not need to come to China." 2. Statements regarding pregnant women's access to aid Pregnant women, 31, from Hyesan county, Ryanggang Province. Interview conducted in February 2002: "I am pregnant and I will deliver next month. As a pregnant woman I am not entitled to any aid from the government. No pregnant women ever receive any. Until the end of the 80s, pregnant women would receive food during their hospitalization." Women suffering from tuberculosis, 33, from Chongjin city, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in February 2002: "Pregnant women do not benefit from government care. Well so they say but… when the third child is born, a 300 g ration of food is distributed in his name. After that there is nothing for the child nor for the mother." 3. Statements regarding elderly access to aid Man, retired from the Workers Party, 50, from Aoji coal mine, Eundok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "After I retired, me and my wife have not got any income. We don't ask too much, not even rice. But even corn soup we cannot always have." Retired couple from the Workers Party, 60 & 61, from Obong city, Eundok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in February 2001: "When you're over 61 years old you're unable to work because of the age limit. But right now in North Korea, they write the [retirement] annuity on a piece of paper. With that you can get 600 g of rice for one day but it is only a piece of paper, and I never receive anything, and I cannot eat the paper, we are not goats. I never get any distribution nor any grant and I never receive a wage. If people in the coal mines don't receive any food, how can old people like us receive any?" 4. Statements regarding food availability for farmers Couple of farmers, 49 and 45, from Eundok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in October 2001: "We came to China because we were in difficulties so we came here to get some help. We had a bad harvest, no PDS, it's hard to get food, so we came here along." Peasant, 40, from Onsong county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "Before we used to receive some distribution of crops, but nowadays there are not enough crops. Although we plant crops for the year it is not even enough for peasants. On the top of that we have to provide crops to the workers office. There are only three to four months a year when we have enough crops to eat. Most of the crops are provided to the army base." Farmer, 40, from Onsong county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in February 2001: "Once they tax everything there is not much left for us to eat." Retired couple from the Worker's Party, 60 & 61, from Obong city, Eundok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in February 2001: "Right now farmers cannot even produce enough food for themselves. There are several reasons why; there isn't any fertilizer and farmers don't have energy to work because they don't have anything to eat." Pregnant women, 31, from Hyesan county, Ryanggang Province. Interview conducted in February 2002: "People living in the cities are always better off than those from the countryside. In the city, they can always manage to beg. In the countryside, there is nothing but the grass for the rabbits." 5. Statements regarding the functioning of the PDS Couple of farmers, 49 and 45, from Eundok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in October 2001: "The PDS stopped in 95-96 but we still have to keep working" Man, 23, from Musan county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in July 2001: "In North Korea the only source of food is PDS, if there is no food ration, there is no other source of food. But you know, since I began to have hair on my head, I have never seen food ration on a regular basis, so it was erratic already after my birth and PDS has always been a major problem for the people." Woman, 50, from Sampong district, Onsong county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "The government does not supply any food to the population nowadays, and says to them that ‘although we only have water and fresh air, we have to keep our ideology.' They just leave on corn soup in my hometown. They get the corn from merchants from Chongjin who make profit out of it." Woman, 50, from Sampong district, Onsong county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "In 1997, on April 15, Kim Il Sung's birthday, I received 3 kg of corn from the US. Every family also got 10 kg of potatoes from China on October 10th, 1998 for the Worker's Party foundation day. Besides those two cases, we did not get anymore from the PDS. And the government announced to citizens that no more food would be provided so they should not expect anything from the government and that everybody had to manage their life by themselves." Woman, 30, from Aoji, Eudok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "Since 1995 I have only received food from PDS once or twice a year for Kim Il Sung's and Kim Jung Il's birthdays." Retired couple from the Worker's Party, 60 & 61, from Obong city, Eundok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in February 2001: "We just receive food from PDS for anniversaries in January1, February 16, April 15, a ration for three days." Man, 35, from Aoji, Eundok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in February 2001: "I gave up my job in the 7.7 fertilizer factory because there wasn't any food distribution." Pregnant woman, 31, from Hyesan, Ryanggang Province. Interview conducted in February 2002: "In theory the PDS should distribute 800g/day/person. But since the 80's, the rations have officially been reduced to 4-5 months. Even though it is fixed like that, the PDS is corrupted and this quantity has not been provided. We receive much less than that. The decrease in rations is always justified by the need to help the army or because the agricultural program did not succeed." 6. Statements regarding visits of UN inspectors Man, 23, from Musan county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in July 2001: "I have seen some foreign guys from the UN traveling around. I don't know what they are doing but when they are traveling, just around this time, government suddenly becomes very busy, you know, try to find those undernourished boys and children … They keep them away, you know, those undernourished children, at some place…Perhaps they were expecting that these UN guys visit welfare facilities inspection, so they want to be prepared for it." Man, 19, from Hamheung city, South Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in February 2001: "Last year I saw UN guys coming to Musan to assess flood damage. The government dug up the river and the streets to make it look more damaged, in order to get more rice. The UN investigators came back to Musan a number of times." 7. Statements regarding forced repatriation and related punishment in North Korea Boy, 16, from North Pyongan Province. Interview conducted in July 2001: "I was arrested a few month ago in China, put in jail, then sent to North Korea where I was kept in a childrens camp in Heoryong. I escaped again to come back to China." Man, 23, from Musan county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in July 2001: "I was detained in a Chinese detention center in Hunchun in January 2000 then sent back to North Korea with another group of North Koreans. We were handcuffed until we reached Saepiol and then we were blindfolded and taken to a camp. I learned from my cellmates later on that we were in Chongjin. In the camp it was very hard and I have been tortured, but after I mentioned my aunt was working in the North Korean anti South Korean intelligence, I was released." Woman, 50, from Sampong district, Onsong county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "My son was already arrested and repatriated three times from China, therefore he will stay in jail for 5 years. Citizens know that if they are caught leaving the country, the first time they have to stay in jail one year, the second time three years. I myself was arrested for leaving the country without permission last year in July. I was taken to Chongjin city jail where I only stayed one month because it was too crowded and there was not enough space in the jail. There were 120 males and 178 females there, all of them had been arrested for escaping the country." 8. Statements regarding the manipulation of foreign aid Man, 23, from Musan county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in July 2001: "The rice and corn in the market are in foreign packages, it is the food that arrives in Korea from good people like you. Then those bastards of senior party members are taking them into their home and their big bellies, but since they cannot sell the things themselves at the market, then they send their wife to do the job. I can precisely tell you that the things are from foreign countries because I often go to the port in Chongjin. A lot of cereals are being unloaded there. We saw all kinds of grains and foreign ships. And sometimes we see the American flag and the package label. So I can precisely say where the cereals we find in the market come from." Woman, 50, from Sampong district, Onsong county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "Citizens know that a lot of relief supply is coming to North Korea from other countries. We have heard about it. But most of the time we never got any of those supplies, so we think that the government keeps for themselves." Man, 20, from Chongjin city, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in April 2001: "I have been to the black market recently, I have seen bags of corn there. It had a US flag on the top and it was written that it was a gift from the US." Mine worker, 46, from Saepiol county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in February 2001: "We heard that soldiers in the army still eat 3 meals a day, 2 meals of rice and one meal of porridge. To the army, the food goes to the army. The rice is used to make oil and turned into gunpowder. From what I heard, the army base has about 80-90% go to the army and the rest is sent to the people. At the army factory they use glutinous rice powder to make gunpowder. Or the glutinous rice or corn or peas can be used to produce oil. Or candy powder can be used as well." Man, 36, from Rason, Eundok county, North Hamkyong Province. Interview conducted in February 2001: "If you listen to the [South Korean] radio it says how much rice is brought into the country from South Korea, Japan and America. 500,000 tons came into Nampo harbor and other places. But in reality the amount of our ration is one or two days worth, sometimes a week worth. After that there is no more. So I start to wonder if we really got that rice and if the South Korean radio is lying. I think about that sometimes: if the rice came in, why is no one giving it to the people?"